Brussels: Local Travel Info
The Smallest World-City
To and From - Brussels/Bruxelles - National Zaventem (BRU):
Brussels's national airport is 11 km from the city centre. Most of the major hotels operate an airport shuttle into Brussels's city centre. Visitors can also take a bus; Brussels bus company MIVB/STIB runs a bus to and from the city centre with stops in the European Quarter, NATO, and the airport. Operating times are between 04:57 am to 23: 57pm. There are about 3 or 4 trips per hour, and a single ticket costs a mere €3. City bus # 11 also goes to the airport, but runs on weekends only and not in July or August. The bus runs from 06:45 am to 23:10 pm on Saturdays and from 05:40 am to 23:10 pm on Sundays. The Airport Express Bus #12 runs directs to the city centre, taking only 7minutes to reach NATO, and 22minutes to arrive at Schuman Metro. At Schuman you can transfer onto the Metro. The bus leaves the airport Monday – Friday 05:40 to 23:15 with a frequent and regual service; note there is no weekend service. All buses can be found on level 0. The airport train station is located below the terminal (basement level-1). Up to 4 trains an hour connect the airport to Brussels North, Brussels Central and Brussels Midi stations.
Taxis from Brussels National Zaventem airport
Taxis to downtown Brussels cost between €30and €40 and take about 20 - 30 minutes. Metered taxis are available outside Arrivals (level 2). Licensed cabs have a yellow and blue emblem.
Charleroi - Brussels South (CRL) Airport
The airport is 45km south of Brussels but Ryanair travellers arrive/depart here. Taxi's can be taken to the city centre of Brussels for €85. Buses to Gare du Midi in Brussels take 1hr and coincide with flight times. Buses leave Brussels centre at the corner of Rue de France. Tickets can be purchased on board for €10.
Shuttle vans can also be alternatively booked.
Brussels By Bus and Streetcar
Buses run within Brussels city centre from 6 am - 12 am. Bus stops (as well as tram stops) are indicated by red and white signs. Trams, buses and the metro system are designed to interconnect, using the same ticket system. Tickets can be purchased at metro stations, newsagents, at the tourist reception desk at Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes 63, and at the TIB at the Town Hall in Grand Place. Tickets must be validated at the metro ticket barrier, either prior to or upon boarding the bus or tram. The ticket is valid for any form of public transport, including changes.
Trams in Brussels run from 6 am - 12 am and serve the suburbs as well as the city centre. The trams are bright yellow and blue and travel both above and below ground. Trams in Brussels run south from Gare du Nord, stopping at Place de Brouckère and Bourse, and Bruxelles-Midi (the Eurostar terminal).
Brussels By Metro
Brussels Metro has two lines: 1A, 1B and 2. Line 1A runs northwest to southeast from Roi Baudouin to Herrmann-Debroux. Line 1B runs southwest to northeast, from Bizet to Stockel. Both lines join in the middle, running along the same lines from Beekhant to Merode, to serve the central part of the city. Line 2, from Simonis to Clemenceau, follows the inner ring road underground. Metro stations are recognized by a white “M” on a blue background. Tickets can be purchased at the stations but often require the exact change. Alternatively, books of unlimited 12 hour passes are available.
Brussels By Car
Driving in Brussels is not recommended as the best way to reach Brussels and get around is by public transportation. However, if you are keen to drive, remember that in Brussels unless you see a white sign with a yellow diamond as you approach an intersection, traffic entering from the right has the right of way. Roundabouts and a complicated network of tunnels, ring roads, and boulevards can be intimidating, particularly at rush hour. In additional to car parks in the city centre there is also pay and display on certain streets. Free parking is available on Sunday and holidays. Motorways in Brussels are marked with a white ''E'' on a green background, major roads with an ''N'' and minor roads with a ''P''. The speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways is 120 kph, 90 kph on single carriageways outside built-up areas, and 50 kph in built-up areas. There are no tolls on Belgian highways. Cars can be rented in Brussels at the airport and cater to all budgets: try Alamo, National, Avis, Budget, and Hertz. Safety belts must be worn at all times and children under 12 are prohibited from sitting in the front seat, unless no other seat is available.
Hitchhiking in Brussels
In Brussels as in the rest of Belgium, it is permitted to hitchhike. Hitchhiking is not that common but is easy enough to get a ride and most people speak French and usually English.
Cycling in Brussels
Cycling in Brussels is an efficient and low budget transportation option; although it can take some getting used to the traffic (Belgian drivers are notoriously bad). Bicycles in Brussels do not follow rules, you can weave between traffic jams and lanes, as well as disregard side walk barriers. Cycling is also the national sport of Belgium and it is common to wear a helmet, a bright vest, or leg stickers. If you want to rent a bicycle in Brussels there are rental stands throughout the main tourist sites. Try La Maison de Cyclistes. Bikes can be rented for a day (15€), weekend even up to a year for a small fee. Try to avoid buying a bike from Midi Market as many are stolen and not high quality. Bike repairs can be done at a surprisingly small number of bike shops in Brussels. Note that late May- September is the busiest time and you might need to make an appointment. Bicycles are permitted on the metro, but you must buy a ticket. From April to October you can book bike tours such as a half day tour which costs 9€ and 8€ for the bike rental.
Trains in Belgium are fast and efficient and Belgium has the densest rail network in the world. There are three major railway stations in Brussels: Bruxelles-Central (in the city centre), Bruxelles-Nord (to the north of the main ring road) and Bruxelles-Midi (to the south). All three stations have facilities such as bars, cafes and disabled access. Bruxelles-Midi and Bruxelles-Nord have car parks. All three stations connect to the metro, Bruxelles-Midi and Bruxelles-Nord have a direct connection to Bruxelles-Central, as well as to other cities and the airport.
Eurostar trains (from London) and Thalys express trains (from Aachen, Amsterdam, Cologne and Paris) stop at the TGV (High-Speed Train) terminal at Bruxelles-Midi. The journey time from Paris is 1 hour and 30 minutes. In addition, local trains depart from Bruxelles-Chapelle, Bruxelles-Quartier Léopold, Bruxelles-Schuman and Bruxelles-Congrès, linking the inner city to the suburbs.